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Old 02-12-2018, 08:16 AM   #1
peaches100
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Default Help! More Grounding Increases Nightmares!

I've always had a problem containing things after my therapy session. In fact, I regularly experience intrusions from parts on an almost daily basis. Sometimes, it results in long-term rumination, other times, triggered feelings that spiral out of control, or memories that get tripped by something I"ve seen or heard. As a result, I'm often very forgetful and only halfway present. It makes it difficult for me to focus on my work and causes problems at home because my husband says I get into a "zone" and don't respond when he tries to talk to me.

Last week, my therapist asked me to practice grounding myself every 30 minutes, using the 3 sights, sounds, sensations exercise. I've been doing it for 4 days so far. I'm finding it very hard to remember to do it every 30 minutes! Sometimes, a couple of hours go by before I remember to do it (or my husband reminds me to do it).

Here's my concern...My husband says that he can already tell that I am much more aware and present when I regularly ground myself throughout the day. But ever since I've been doing this continual grounding, I've started having horrible nightmares every night! I'm waking up tired even though I slept all night because of how exhausting and frightening the dreams have been.

Do you think that this exercise keeping myself in the present is causing an increase in nightmares? Is all of the traumatic "crap" coming out in my sleep because I'm not allowing myself to think about or process it during the daytime?

I plan to ask my therapist about this when I see her, but I wanted to know if anybody here has experienced this happening or knows what might be going on...and what to do about it!

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Old 02-12-2018, 09:10 AM   #2
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Default Re: Help! More Grounding Increases Nightmares!

So, am I to understand that you talk about your history in therapy which can get emotional and then between sessions you can't think about your history and instead you have to keep practicing touching things around you to keep you in the moment.

When you go to therapy can you talk about your history with your therapist? Do you have a part of you that can remember and talk about it?
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Old 02-12-2018, 11:20 AM   #3
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Default Re: Help! More Grounding Increases Nightmares!

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Originally Posted by Open Eyes View Post
So, am I to understand that you talk about your history in therapy which can get emotional and then between sessions you can't think about your history and instead you have to keep practicing touching things around you to keep you in the moment.

When you go to therapy can you talk about your history with your therapist? Do you have a part of you that can remember and talk about it?

Openeyes,

Yes, you are correct. The goal is for me to be able to talk about and work through traumas while in my session, but contain all of the disturbance in between sessions by grounding myself and staying present.

As far as talking about my trauma history with my therapist, yes, we talk abut it. But it is always a crap shoot as to whether or not the internal traumatized parts will be present. Sometimes, it is just regular me, the adult part who does life.

Often, my therapist and I end up able to communicate with parts and begin to process some of the pain and memories they hold. But it takes time before parts feel safe enough to be there. It also takes time to process. So often times, I feel like just when we are getting somewhere in my session, it is time to stop. I think that's one reason why it's so hard to contain things between sessions. Once parts get going, I have to push them back in.

I can't afford to go to therapy twice a week though.

I used to email between sessions as a way to deal with intrusive thoughts, rumination, triggering, etc.,, between sessions, but that caused problems in therapy. It was just "too much." Also, if we try to do more than just a little bit in each session, it ends up feeling overwhelming for me.

So I understand why my t is having me contain between sessions. It just feels like I'm getting some kind of backlash for doing it. I'm wondering if my traumatized parts are rebelling against not being able to prompt, prod, and take over my thoughts during the day now.

I don't know what to do about this.
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Old 02-12-2018, 11:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: Help! More Grounding Increases Nightmares!

IDK,but it would seem to me that talking about and working on past traumas would be what's causing the nightmares and not the grounding you are doing.

Therapy stirs things up,even for those that don't have parts.My therapist called it 'fallout' from therapy and said nightmares,anxiiety,feeling like crap,etc.is part of the process.He also said if I wasn't struggling afterwards it meant therapy wasn't working and that it usually does get worse before it gets better.

But he also kept track of my struggles and increased/decreased sessions as needed.Sometimes he would have me take breaks from therapy to stabalize too.

Maybe a short break might be needed until things calm down?
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:11 AM   #5
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I am not really good at giving advices, but have you considered prazosin?

It reduces hypervigilance and nightmares, therefore it is easier to stay present.

Side effects tend to be minimal.
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: Help! More Grounding Increases Nightmares!

Well, in my own experience as I struggle with complex PTSD myself, is I can experience flashbacks or things from my history that surface in an "intrusive" way. I don't "make" these experiences happen either, they are "intrusive". And trying to talk about my history in therapy often did open a door so to speak where often "more" would come forward too. Yes, I would try to find ways to ground myself however sometimes something would come forward and all I could do was to wait until it ran it's course and dissipated. I am just wondering if your therapist wanting you to talk about (ruminate about) your history can be like poking at something that brings things to the surface and next thing you know you are revisiting something from your past.
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